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Taiwan TAIPEI: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou would consider cultural agreements with China, an official said Wednesday, triggering an angry response from the island's anti-Beijing opposition.   Lin Join-sane, chairman of the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation became the first Taiwanese official to raise the possibility of a culture deal and said the view reflected that of Ma's.   "We won't rule out signing culture agreements with the mainland as long as they are in the interest of our country, supported by the people and supervised by parliament," Lin told reporters in Taipei.   He did not specify the content of any possible cultural agreements.   But the island's opposition said they would merely facilitate Beijing's ambition of bringing about unification with the island.   "What's behind this is a mindset bent on unification. First comes the economy, then culture, and in the end politics," Lin Chun-hsien, spokesman for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told AFP.   The Taiwan Solidarity Union, a smaller party even ...

Six dead as floods hit Philippines disaster zone MANILA: Six people have died and four others are missing in floods that swept through a southern Philippine region still reeling from a deadly typhoon disaster, authorities said Wednesday.   Days of heavy rains on Mindanao island left the major city of Davao and nine nearby towns flooded, including areas that were devastated by Typhoon Bopha in early December, the civil defence office said.   Six people, including a year-old boy, had been confirmed killed between Monday and Wednesday, ...
US should continue helping Afghanistan in state-building: Waiz ISLAMABAD: British parliamentarian Lord Tariq and former Deputy Speaker Afghan Parliament Dr. Waiz Yasin, welcoming American President's statement about withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, emphasized the need of rebuilding of state and infrastructure after withdrawal.   Talking to a private news channel, Dr. Waiz Yasin said America will have to build the Afghan government and the institutions in the country.   "We should stand alongside with Afghanistan and help its government in the state-building in the terms of education ...
EU criticises harsh Thai royal insult sentence BANGKOK: The European Union said on Wednesday it was "deeply concerned" by an 11-year prison sentence given to a prominent Thai political activist accused of insulting the monarchy.   "The verdict seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom. At the same time, it affects Thailand's image as a free and democratic society," the EU delegation in Bangkok said in a statement.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Former South Korean president SEOUL: The daughter of former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence on Wednesday for illegally transferring $1.2 million abroad.   Roh Jeong-Yeon was convicted of transferring 1.3 billion won ($1.2 million) to the United States in order to buy an apartment in New Jersey in 2007, without reporting the transaction to local financial authorities.   It was not immediately known whether she would appeal the ruling by the Seoul Central District Court.   The former ...
Thai activist jailed for 11 years over royal insult BANGKOK: A prominent Thai political activist accused of insulting the monarchy was handed an 11-year prison term on Wednesday in the latest tough sentence under the kingdom's lese majeste laws. The Criminal Court in Bangkok convicted Somyot Prueksakasemsuk in connection with two articles deemed offensive to the royal family that were published by a magazine he edited at the time.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Girl aged eight killed in quake off Indonesia, 15 injured BANDA ACEH: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's Aceh province Tuesday, killing an eight-year-old girl and leaving 15 people injured, officials said.   The quake struck 112 kilometres (70 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Banda Aceh at 22:22 GMT, at a depth of 37 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.   "An eight-year-old girl in Pidie district was killed after a cupboard in her bedroom fell on her when the quake shook the ground," the district's disaster ...

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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
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WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
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